Captain Kelly Bordeaux looked out the viewport into space. She was never tired of its dark beauty. Space was like a sea but instead of sharp reefs and whirlpools, there were asteroid fields and ion storms. These were just as deadly as anything on the actual ocean and made exploration fun and exciting. She shifted in her captain’s seat to stretch her stiff muscles. “Delta shift isn’t too bad for a change,” she thought silently as she took a deep drink of her coffee and stared at the clock reading 0300 hours. Normally she lets some junior officer take this shift. They loved getting “time in the chair” as Kelly called it and this shift was typically the quietest. The problem was junior officers tended to be a bit more uncomfortable and formal around her. It made sense. They didn’t have the big names of Mardusk, Nash, Drayke, Garinder’Jen th’Jir, or Odinson sitting in the chair but less senior officers like Rios, Benton, and Smith watching over their shoulder. Kelly tried to crack a few jokes and put them at ease but it was met with side glances and nervous chuckles. She tried to keep things casual on her ship using last names and first ones when appropriate instead of rank. For some, this took a while to get used to. Maybe she would have to assign more senior crew to these shifts. Each shift ran perfectly but all shifts should run as if they were a seamless team with everyone feeling at ease no matter who sat where.
Taking a long draw on her coffee, Kelly tried to engage them again in the light-hearted banter that typically accompanied long, boring shifts when consols were manned by her senior staff. “If this mysterious ship is not detected in the next 48 hours I’m declaring it a hallucination by command and redirecting the Altantis to some hot, sunny, tropical world for shore leave,” Kelly joked but the response from the crew is only more silence and just a few fleeting glances. God, these guys need to get a little life, she mused silently and made a mental note to place them on the first round for shore leave. Maybe she will go with them this time. Spend some time with someone other than her core group. Kelly let her mind drift to all the possibilities of a vacation. Bored, Kelly pulled up the alien transmission again on her PADD that brought the Atlantis here.
ARRIVE LOCATION 932.8604. WE ARE FRIENDS. WE HAVE SOMETHING VITAL TO THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF THE FEDERATION. SEND THE ATLANTIS TO TAKE DELIVERY OF THE PACKAGE. IAN BORDEAUX REQUIRED FOR EXCHANGE. ALL RESTS ON YOUR DESIRE FOR FIRST CONTACT AND PEACE.
The message is vague enough to spark interest but specific enough to raise eyebrows. With all the excitement from their last trip into the unknown, most in command figured it was someone they had met on their last venture to the unknown. Kelly had taken bets with some of the senior staff on which alien race was contacting them. Until someone contacted them though, the pot was still unclaimed. Kelly settled back in her command chair tracing the events in her mind that had gotten them here. They were finishing loading supplies and tying up loose ends when the message was detected by StarBase 11. No date was sent telling them when to arrive at the coordinates until someone in communications discovered the message was sent on a repeating feedback loop. The signal degradation from the loop calculated that it was received only two days ago. Star Fleet had ordered the Atlantis to wait a week at 932.8604 before it would be relieved by another ship. Kelly had given it three days already. If something did not happen in the next four, she was going to go out of her mind with boredom.
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